The Toll of Police Violence on Black People’s Mental Health

September 15, 2023

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The New York Times

According to research, when a Black person is hurt or killed by the police in the U.S., it negatively affects the mental health of Black people across the country. Black Americans are killed by police at three times the rate of their White peers and the number of these deaths has been consistent over the years. The lasting effects of these events reach beyond those who are directly involved. For example, a recent study found a link between police killings of unarmed Black people and more depression-related emergency department visits among Black people. To better understand how Black people feel about and cope with news of police violence against a Black person, the New York Times commissioned a survey and interviewed 110 Black people in more than 20 U.S. cities. Over half of respondents reported ongoing sadness, anger, and fear about police violence. Many shared personal experiences of police aggression or talked about cases from the past, such as those of Rodney King and Eric Garner.  “There’s always one case that kind of sticks with you,” said KT Kennedy, a youth and community organizer from Brooklyn, N.Y. “I feel like we’re all specifically haunted by one murder at least.”

Spark Extra! Read a call to action for Black youth suicide prevention.